Human Exceptionalism

Europe Bans Animal–Not Human–Cloning

I am always amazed at how there is a great anger in Europe against technologies like plant GMOs, but far less outrage over the prospect of human genetic modification, in the early stages of implimentation. From The Indpendent story:

The genetic manipulation of human IVF embryos is set to start in Britain for the first time following a licence application by scientists who want to understand why some women suffer repeated miscarriages.

If the research licence is granted by the Government’s fertility watchdog it will be only the second known occasion in the world where the chromosomes of human embryos have been genetically manipulated using a revolutionary gene-editing technique called Crispr/Cas9.

Meanwhile, Europe has banned farm animal cloning. From the Science Insider story:

The European Parliament today voted to ban the cloning of all farm animals as well as the sale of cloned livestock, their offspring, and products derived from them. The measure, which passed by a large margin, goes beyond a directive proposed by the European Commission in 2013, which would have implemented a provisional ban on the cloning of just five species: cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, and horses.

The supporters of the ban cited animal welfare concerns, claiming that only a small percentage of cloned offspring survive to term, and many die shortly after birth.

The ban does not cover cloning for research purposes, nor does it prevent efforts to clone endangered species.

Continuing with the theme of this post, human cloning has not been similarly banned throughout Europe.

Indeed, while there is a protocol against allowing a cloned baby to be born, and some countries like Germany outlaw creating human cloned embryos, others like Great Britain–which even permits the use of animal eggs in cloning attempts–allows the human cloning research to proceed full speed ahead.

Sometimes I think that in the minds of some, animals matter more than humans.

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